A Day of Public Humanizing: Maggie Unverzagt Goddard

Editor’s Note: Hi, DayofPHers (you don’t have to call yourselves that)! Robyn, Jim, and I have been reaching out to friends, colleagues, idols, and other acquaintances in the wide world of public humanities to see if anyone wants to write guest posts about their days of public humanizing. If you’d like to tell us about your day (or blog about another topic related to our Day of Public Humanities!), please get in touch! You can email us (dayofPH[at]gmail) or contact us via Twitter (@DayofPH). And don’t forget to talk about your work with us on Tuesday, May 9th, 2017! 🙂

Maggie Unverzagt Goddard is a PhD student in American Studies and a master student in Public Humanities at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. She used one of our postcards as a to-do list and wrote about it!

In the midst of finals, conferences, and a move, my to do list reveals that public humanities requires a lot of coordination. Whether emailing, scheduling flights, or understanding a slew of acronyms, the activities that pattern my day involve checking in with others and staying connected.

As Inge mentioned, I use sticky notes in my day planner and ardently adhere to the physical pen and paper calendar. In actuality, the process involves a twenty pen set of Staedtler triplus fineliners, color coded to different activities—classes, travel, exercise, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While low tech, the curation of the calendar affords a certain aesthetic appeal and some intriguing signifiers of cultural capital, but it also gives me a sense of control, clarity, and accountability.

In our course work and projects here at the Center, we often discuss the meaning of the term “public” in public humanities. Such critical assessments allow us to understand how different exhibitions and programs conceptualize and collaboratively work with different publics.

So, what is the public of my to do list? How do the demarcations of our work into discrete activities allow for connection, coordination, and collaboration, rather than the individuation of labor?

Mapping the contours of public humanities reveals these relationships and allows us, as self-identified practitioners, public humans, and DayofPHers (if you like it), to not only recognize the labor of our work but also see how these checklists, tasks, and projects intersect, invite others in, and afford opportunities to build something together.

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